Drop Dead Gorgeous by Wayne Simmons

(6.0/10)

As tattoo artist Star begins to ink her first client on a spring Sunday morning, something goes horribly wrong with the world... Belfast’s hung-over lapse into a deeper sleep than normal, their sudden deaths causing an unholy mess of crashing cars, smouldering televisions and falling aircraft. In the chaotic aftermath a group of post-apocalyptic survivors search for purpose in a devastated city. Ageing DJ Sean Magee and shifty-eyed Barry Rogan find drunken solace in a hotel bar. Ex-IRA operative Mairead Burns and RIR soldier Roy Beggs form an uneasy alliance to rebuild community life. Elsewhere, a mysterious Preacher Man lures shivering survivors out of the shadows with a promise of redemption. Choked by the smell of death, Ireland’s remaining few begin the journey toward a new life, fear and desperation giving rise to new tensions and dark old habits. But a new threat creeps slowly out of life’s wreckage.

I wasn’t sure what this book was going to be like as I always tend to be slightly wary of picking up zombie novels. What I found was a post apocalyptic novel, set in Belfast, where a high proportion of the population suddenly dies. What follows is a great survivor story where we follow a couple of groups of people who have managed to find themselves in this empty world. The story switches between these groups which keeps the pace of the novel moving.

These groups show human nature in all its extremes, one group focuses on building a community for protection against the breakdown of law and order. Another group seems to be more about having a good time and follow a drunken hedonistic existence. The other larger group is led by a religious figure who believes they may all still be saved. Through all of this we are shown how easily malleable humanity is when everything is stripped from them how they will follow anyone to feel that they may be safe. I thought these parts of the book were well written and insightful.

After a good set up where we are teased by a darkness to come, I was only left disappointed. The ending unfortunately felt rushed and although I do generally want there to be an explanation on why the world has fallen apart, sometimes the explanation you are given doesn’t gel well. Did I mention that this is a zombie novel? Well it is but it also isn’t when something dies and rises from the dead they are generally classed as either zombies, vampires or ghouls this was something else and it felt like a good idea and yet as I have mentioned before the book felt like it was being forced to a conclusion and the idea wasn’t being executed as well as it could be.

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